If you’re bisexual and struggling with LGBT imposter syndrome, then you’re not alone. Many bisexuals feel they do not fit into the queer community, and have self doubt that they’re a real queer person, or that queer folks accept them as such. Queer imposter syndrome is common if you’re a bisexual woman or man.
The Struggles of Being Bi
Bisexuals are often accused of “being gay for payback.” We’re expected to “pay back” our “homophobic” straight past by being “gay” now.
Many bisexuals feel pressured to choose between their sexuality and their identity, because others tell us we need to “pick a side,” and that choosing one makes the other irrelevant. But it’s impossible to choose just one. It would be like asking me to decide if I’m a cat person or a dog person. It’s a ridiculous question!
There’s also the fear of not being accepted as “queer enough,” which is very difficult when there are so many different ways to be queer. Bisexuals are often asked to pick between our sexuality and our gender.
The problem is that many people see bisexuality as an “excuse” for being gay. And while some might use it as a way out of being gay, it’s important to remember that being bi doesn’t mean you were never gay. Many of us have been attracted to both men and women at various points in our lives. If you’ve ever been curious about both sexes, it doesn’t make you any less “real.”
Coming Out As Bi
While the concept of “coming out” has always existed, the term was popularized by the Human Rights Campaign in 1991, after a group of people from different backgrounds joined together to form the first National Coming Out Day event. The aim of the day was to promote tolerance, queer identity, and understanding among people of all sexual orientations.
The word “bisexual” came into use at around the same time as the coming out movement, though it was originally coined by psychologist Dr. Charles Gilbert in 1896. The term is defined as having “affectional and/or erotic feelings for both men and women.”
But today, many bisexuals are still afraid to come out because they worry that their family and friends won’t understand. They may worry that their significant other will leave them or that society, fellow classmates, or other queer people and queer friends, won’t accept them.
LGBT Imposter Syndrome
Many bisexuals also struggle with mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. These can all be symptoms of queer impostor syndrome.
Imposter syndrome affects some bisexuals more than others. For example, I think bisexuality is more likely to cause imposter syndrome because it’s so hard to define. It means loving someone regardless of their sex, whether they’re the same gender or opposite. That’s a broad definition, but there are countless variations on how to love someone.
Bisexual Self Identify
Some bisexuals find it easier to accept their sexuality when they date members of the opposite sex. Others prefer dating members of the same sex. Some like to experiment. No one size fits all. And because this is true for everyone, it’s easy to assume that bisexuality is a cop-out.
This makes it harder for bisexuals to identify themselves as queer or LGBT. In fact, some people believe that bisexuality is just a phase, or something that happens to teenagers. But it’s not. You can’t just decide to be bi. It’s not a choice that anyone makes consciously.
It’s important to remember that bisexuality is simply a part of your identity, not the whole picture. A person’s sexual orientation is not solely determined by whom they’re attracted to, or if they have queer sex, it’s also influenced by their experiences with different genders, cultures, races, and identities.
Like many members of the LGBTQIA community, I don’t get to choose my own sexual orientation. I wasn’t born knowing who I am attracted to. My sexuality has changed over the years, sometimes more than once in a single year. I didn’t choose to be bi, I grew up being bi.
I’ve experienced queer imposter syndrome. I felt like I had to label myself, so I chose to be bisexual. I wanted others to accept me as queer. I did not want to be seen as “only” bi, when I’m also queer.
And yet, I know that in order to be accepted as queer, you must also embrace your sexual orientation. This is why many bisexuals are ashamed of their sexuality. They feel that if they say they’re only bisexual, it takes away from the other parts of their identity.
They fear that people will think they’re lying, or that they’ll be seen as fake. Even though bisexuality is part of who they are, they hide it from others to keep their identity secure.
Feelings of Exclusion
Bi people often feel excluded from the queer community. They feel that other queer folks don’t accept them as queer. They may even fear rejection. This can lead to LGBT imposter syndrome.
One way that bi people are affected by imposter syndrome is through bisexual invisibility. Because bisexuality is often misunderstood, it is rarely discussed in the media. There is much stigma surrounding bisexuality, and most people aren’t aware that bisexual people exist.
Because of this, bisexuals may not be able to identify with any particular character on television or in movies. They’re usually left out of films and TV shows, unless the story is specifically about bi characters.
Bisexuals are often portrayed as confused, promiscuous, greedy, or one-sided. Sometimes, they’re shown as villains or monsters. Very few bi characters are presented as complex human beings who fall somewhere on the Kinsey scale.
This makes it difficult for bisexual people to identify with the media representation of their sexuality. It makes them afraid to disclose their sexual orientation because they know that others won’t understand.
Bisexuality is a spectrum, and the way people experience it varies. Some bisexuals are interested in both men and women, while others are only sexually attracted to one sex. People can have crushes on both sexes, or they can identify as lesbian or gay.
It’s important to remember that being bi does not mean that you were never gay. It’s possible to be attracted to both men and women at the same time, and still be interested in people of other genders.
Being bisexual doesn’t change who you are. It’s not a bad thing. It’s not something that needs to be fixed or hidden, it’s just part of who you are.